"Summertime" was a bit of a messy episode. With a large cast, the premiere had a lot of plot to cover, picking up with the Gallagher family several months after Season 1 ended. I think the most interesting reveal was that no one knows Eddie killed himself – they think he just took off. So for now, Karen hasn't had to deal with the death of her father, though I'm guessing that body will pop up at some point…
Frank making a ridiculous, $10,000 bet and then desperately trying to find the money was the main through-line here. Him using Liam as a prop essentially, while he panhandled, was a very funny, very Frank low point – and I loved the, "F**k you, Frank!" heard from one guy sitting in his car. The fact that Frank would ultimately leave his son with the guys he owed the money too (and go off drinking) said all you needed to know about Frank.
A little Frank goes a long way though, so, as always, I was most interested in what Fiona, Lip and Ian were up to. It seems Fiona's getting over Steve's absence the only way she knows how: Casual sex. The way they used her current fling (played by James Wolk, from the late, great, and instantly cancelled Lone Star) to bring up Fiona's past in high school, running track, was an interesting facet to her character – and I really liked that end moment of her hauling ass on the track, where it didn't really matter if she could touch her old record, just that she was getting back a bit of her own life -- before she gave everything up for her family -- even for a moment.
The episode got stronger as it went on – Kash just abandoning his family proved what a scumbag he is (not that we really needed that, when he was sleeping with a teenage kid behind his wife's back), while Ian's quest to get into West Point is a compelling new plot turn for him. I'm trying to adjust to the new Mandy though: I really liked Jane Levy in the role, but that whole pesky, "Starring in her own network series" thing got in the way.
Related Source: Shameless Season 5 DVD Box Set
Lip's fight club was a bit silly, though it was fun (if that's the right word?) seeing him and Kevin man their ice cream truck, beer and pot included. Overall, the hot summer setting was a very nice contrast to the snowy, cold scenario we saw through much of Season 1.
Shameless can sometimes go too far in terms of how goofy it gets – it's sometimes a bit exhausting, especially where Frank's concerned. But the Gallagher kids, especially the older ones, have enough heart to keep me invested and I was glad to have them back.
So what did you all think of the Shameless premiere? Oh, and while I won't be doing weekly reviews this season, I'll possibly check in a couple of times – and promise to review the season finale.